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Sat, 23 June, 2012Europe: Team personnel qualifying quotes

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Christian Horner, Red Bull-Renault (Team Principal):
“After such a tight qualifying, where at stages the top seven cars were covered by less than a tenth of a second, for Sebastian to deliver a final lap that put him four tenths clear was a remarkable effort. It has earned him his 33rd pole, meaning he matches Jim Clark and Alain Prost, which are two extremely illustrious names. It was contrasting fortune for Mark who, after a difficult morning, had a hydraulic issue with the DRS which prevented him from using it. Nonetheless, he came very close to making the jump into Q2 without it. I'm sure he will have an attacking race from there tomorrow he's proved before that he can come through the field and we've got no doubt he'll do that tomorrow.”

Cyril Dumont, Red Bull-Renault (Renault Engineer):
“A mixed feeling today. It was a great pole position from Seb who finished four tenths ahead. For Mark, unfortunately he had some issues this morning which prevented him from running. Then in qualifying he had an issue with his DRS and wasn't able to use it, which is a big shame. Engine-wise there are some tricky slow speed corners that we have to play with in terms of engine driveability, so there was some work to do during these first two days.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren-Mercedes (Team Principal):
“Lewis drove a great lap in Q3 to earn a front-row grid slot for tomorrow's race and, as I said after qualifying in Montreal, where he also qualified second, when Lewis is on the front row, you always fancy his chances, don't you? Jenson was very quick in FP3 and in Q2, and is naturally disappointed that, owing to front [wheel] locking issues and some unexpected understeer, he wasn't able to capitalise on the firm base of pace that he'd built up so far this weekend by carving an equally rapid lap in Q3. But Formula 1 in 2012 is perhaps more fiercely competitive than we've ever seen it before for example, astonishingly, Fernando's [Alonso] best Q2 time was only 0.218sec slower than Romain's [Grosjean] best Q2 time, yet Romain headed the session and Fernando failed to make it into Q3 and indeed some fancied runners, such as Mark [Webber], didn't even make it into Q2. It really is incredibly tight these days. That intense level of competition, where a couple of tenths either way on Saturday afternoon can make a profound and prodigious difference to any driver's prospects for Sunday afternoon, calls for nerves of steel not only in the cockpits but also on the pitwalls. It probably causes the pulse rates of viewers at home to race too but that's as it should be because Formula 1 exists to put on a show, to entertain, and today, on the tortuous confines of the streets of Valencia, that's exactly what Formula 1 did.”

Mark Gillan, Williams-Renault (Chief Operations Engineer):
“As we have seen over the whole season, tyre management is paramount to performing well in both qualifying and the race. This has been clearly evident today with a mixed morning and qualifying session. Pastor did an excellent job with a very strong performance on the soft tyres to finish in third. Bruno was less happy with his tyre balance and finished 14th. Based on our longer runs on Friday we look forward to pushing for a good race result.”

Ross Brawn, Mercedes (Team Principal):
“We had better potential than we showed this afternoon, and I am sure a lot of teams will feel they are in a similar position. Michael didn't put all of his best sectors together on his final lap in Q2, and the times were so close that this meant he missed out by less than 0.07s. Nico had a smooth session, was consistently among the top three and looking good going into Q3. He was quickest on his first run, and had a brand new set of tyres available for his final effort, as the circuit was also picking up pace. However, he found himself sandwiched between Hamilton in front and Maldonado behind, badly compromising his lap, which he eventually aborted. It will be a long race tomorrow with the tyres, and how we manage them, being absolutely vital.”

Norbert Haug, Mercedes (Daimler):
“While Nico's first run in Q3 put him P1, his second ended in traffic as he caught a car in the final sector where you are not allowed to slow down. As his times in Q2 and Q3 proved, it is clear that Nico would have had a shot at the front row of the grid without this handicap. Instead we have to start from the third and sixth rows, after Michael missed Q3 by less than 0.07 seconds and was less than three-tenths slower than the fastest car in Q2. A well-balanced car and a set-up that allows the drivers to look after the tyres during the whole race will be key tomorrow. Our team has worked hard during the last two days to achieve that.”

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Sauber-Ferrari (Head of Track Engineering):
“As expected, the performance level was again very close between the cars. For us the work done overnight paid off. We were closer today than yesterday. Our goal for qualifying was to reach the top ten. We knew this would be very difficult. In the end, Sergio didn't get it right, had some difficulties making it into Q2 and didn't make it to Q3. Starting 15th will obviously not be easy for the race. Kamui did a good lap on medium tyres in Q1, which allowed us to save a set of soft tyres and make best use of them in Q2, where the track was maybe faster in the beginning. This boosted our chances of making it into Q3, so then we took an aggressive approach and waited for the last moment. Kamui then did a good lap. Seventh reflects quite well where we are at the moment and is a good position for the race tomorrow.”

Vijay Mallya, Force India-Mercedes (Team Principal):
“Another extremely close qualifying hour and I'm pleased that we were able to get two cars into Q3 for the first time this year. The car has been extremely quick throughout practice and we showed that again today with some very competitive times in Q1 and Q2. When it came to Q3 both drivers didn't quite deliver perfect laps, which costs us a few positions on the grid, but we are still well placed to fight for points finishes with both cars. We expect a tough race tomorrow with very hot temperatures once again, but the car is strong, we have a good understanding of the tyres and our long run pace looks promising.”

Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari (President):
“Just a few thousandths of a second is all it took to prevent Fernando and Felipe from making it through to Q3 and it's a real shame, because looking at the times in the final part of qualifying and the potential of our car, we could have been in the fight for the rows right at the front. I am very disappointed, because I was hoping for something better: the positions on the starting grid definitely don't reflect the worth of today's Ferrari and on top of that, it has happened at a track where it is particularly difficult to overtake. Tomorrow, we will try to at least make the most of the fact we have two new sets of Softs: tyres are playing a decisive role in this championship and it's up to us to make the best possible use of them.”

Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari (Team Principal):
“We are disappointed and there's no point in denying it. Q2 is the hardest part of qualifying, because this year everyone is very close and it only takes a mere nothing and you pay a very high price. And that's what happened today to both our drivers. The positions on the start grid do not paint a complete picture of the F2012's potential, given that with their times from Q2, Fernando would have started seventh and Felipe ninth: with a further two sets of Softs to exploit, the times would definitely have been better and I let you draw the inevitable conclusion. Now, clearly, the race will be more complicated, because starting so far back on a track with these characteristics is definitely not ideal. Now we will have to make a virtue of necessity, making the best possible use of these additional sets of tyres we now have carried over for both drivers. We will have to look very carefully at all the strategy options for tomorrow, in order to make up the places we have lost to our main rivals today.”

Pat Fry, Ferrari (Technical Director):
“Of course, this is not the result we wanted nor does it reflect what we were capable of. We tried to reach Q3 in the best possible condition to fight for the front rows, which meant with two sets of new Softs available and this, with hindsight, maybe cost us something in Q2. A real shame, because we could definitely have started from a very different position on the grid. Now however, we will have to try and limit the damage, making the most of the start and our strategy, aware that tyre degradation will be the key factor, also in the light of a forecast for even higher temperatures tomorrow afternoon. Both Felipe and Fernando will have two sets of new Softs available: maybe that can be a factor in our favour. The updates we brought for this race worked as expected, while other solutions we tried here for the first time still need a bit more development work. In absolute terms, we have got a bit closer to the group of the very best, but there are so many of them.”

Mark Smith, Caterham-Renault (Technical Director):
“I am delighted with today's performance, as is everyone in the team. We were reasonably optimistic that the updates we have brought here and will have in Silverstone would give us a chance to take another small step forwards and the proof of that is seeing Heikki put his car into Q2. Now we turn our attention to tomorrow's race and the goal is the same as it has been all season - make sure we bring both cars home, take the fight to the cars just ahead of us and be there to take advantage of whatever opportunities arrive in the race.”

Riad Asmat, Caterham-Renault (Chief Executive Officer):
“Another very good day for our team as we continue to develop in exactly the right direction. Heikki's Q2 appearance shows that we are clearly gaining pace as he was able to mix it with both Toro Rosso cars on the same tyres, with the same track conditions and similar fuel loads. This is down to the continuing hard work everyone in the team keeps putting in to help us achieve our goals, and when we can give Heikki and Vitaly the sort of performance that gives them a chance to really exploit their talents they repay everyone in our team with the sort of laptimes we have seen today.”

Laurent Mekies, Toro Rosso-Ferrari (Chief Engineer):
“It is obvious we cannot be happy with where we are on the time sheets this weekend. The gap to our closest competitors is bigger than at the last race. Because of this, we decided to tackle qualifying in a slightly different manner to usual, to learn some lessons that could prove useful for future races, as well as focussing on tomorrow rather than this session. Already between yesterday and FP3 we made some changes to the car to and then, we made the strategic decision not to run new tyres with Daniel in Q2, Hopefully we will reap the benefit of that in the race as he now effectively has two additional sets of new Option tyres.”

Toni Cuquerella, HRT-Cosworth (Technical Director):
“We're extremely satisfied with the job done by the entire team today. We got things right both in the garage and on the track and we're improving more every time. At a circuit that could have been complicated we have confirmed that we've taken a step forwards since Barcelona and the team is closer to where we want to be. Pedro's lap was very good; in fact it was the best in the season so far. To be precise his time was 103.4%. Narain also did a fantastic job and made the most of his gaps and tyres to complete his best qualifying session to date. This goes to show that the work being carried out by the team is very good. Tomorrow's race will be tough, especially for the brakes, and the biggest question mark is how the cooling will perform over a long distance but we're confident that we'll get both cars over the finish line in front of our fans.”

John Booth, Marussia-Cosworth (Team Principal):
“Unfortunately the weekend continues to run less than smoothly for us and this was certainly the case for qualifying today. Charles drove a very solid lap, but it is clear that we have not yet got all of the areas of the car at optimum performance over a lap and we'll look to improve that for tomorrow's race. After FP3 this morning it was clear that Timo was not sufficiently recovered to take part in qualifying and we felt the best course of action was for him to sit out the session and seek further medical advice. We won't be able to reach any conclusions regarding the race until tomorrow morning, so we wish Timo well and for now we will be working very closely with Charles this afternoon and evening to download as much information as possible. Our objective for tomorrow's race, whatever it may hold, will simply be to do the best job possible in the circumstances.”

Paul Hembery, Pirelli (Motorsport Director):
“Qualifying today was probably the closest that there has ever been here. The second session in particular was absolutely unbelievable, with seven drivers within just a tenth of a second of each other. We then saw a great lap from Sebastian Vettel who claimed pole for the third time this year by three tenths of a second, while everyone else was fighting for hundredths. With the same or slightly hotter weather conditions expected tomorrow, all the drivers will have to focus on managing degradation rather than wear, especially on the softer compound.”

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